I Have Lived a Thousand Years

Autobiography by Livia Bitton-Jackson



This is the memoir of Elli Friedmann who was thirteen years old in March 1944 when the Nazis invaded Hungary. It describes, in intimate and excruciating detail, how her world was shattered by their arrival. She tells what it was like to be suddenly forbidden to attend school, talk to neighbors, to forcibly leave home and move to a ghetto, lose all privacy and almost starve. But worse was to come in Auschwitz concentration camp. She recounts what it was like to exist there as one of the few teenage inmates and the tiny but miraculous twists of fate that helped her survive against the odds.


In 1944, Elli Friedmann, a 13-year-old Hungarian Jew, is deported with her family to Auschwitz. Her blonde braids and tall stature save her from instant death in the crematorium. During the following year, Elli and her mother survive terrible suffering and injustice through sheer courage, perseverance, and ingenuity. The teen matures from a naive child concerned with boys and bicycles to a toughened, traumatized--yet still hopeful--young woman.


In 1944, when the Germans occupy Hungary, life for thirteen-year-old Elli Friedmann (the author's birth name) begins a descent into the worst nightmares of the Holocaust. Through the unfathomable darkness, Elli's determination to keep her mother alive and the rare moments of help and kindness offered by a few people at the risk of their own lives shine through.

About the Author

Emigrated to the US in 1951

Has her PhD and has taught history at the college level

Lives in Israel now

Has won awards for this book and others

Critics' Words

Readers will be moved by the intensity of Elli's spirit and her ability to overcome the nightmare that was her daily reality.

descriptive writing is superior; she makes the sights, sounds, and smells come alive so the reader can feel the terror and horror of the situation

a chilling account of concentration camps and humankind's capacity for inhumanity

An exceptional story, exceptionally well told